Apple growers in Himachal Pradesh are looking for alternative crops such as pomegranate and other fruits requiring less chilling period as climate changes has affected the colder conditions ideal for apple to grow properly, according to findings of a Swiss agency working in India. "Farmers are looking for alternatives such as pomegranate due to climatic changes as the chilling units or the cold required for budding is impacted due to high temperature and need to shift to higher altitudes," said Professor Markus Stoffel of the University of Geneva who is associated with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP). IHCAP is studying impacts and vulnerability to climate change of the Himalayan socio-ecological system and enhance knowledge, build capacities of research institutes, planners, scientists to plan and implement climate change adaptation measures. Besides, water scarcity due to changing monsoon behaviour patterns has also resulted in changed horticultural pattern in the state, he told reporters in a media round-table. Also, local communities are now taught to shift to medicinal plants to earn a living than to be dependent on forests due to climate change and the associated risks involved, Stoffel said. SDA has also imparted training to scientists working in the area of Glaciology, said Janine Kuriger, Director of Cooperation of SDC's Programme on Climate Change and Development, Swiss Embassy. IHCAP is a multi-partner project under Global Programme Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and is being implemented in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology. The Climate Change Cells of 12 Himalayan states and various Swiss and Indian universities are other stakeholders.
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